Obama Administration Pledges $17M to Fight Drug Trafficking

The Obama administration on Wednesday announced it would provide $17 million to a handful of states considered to be high intensity drug trafficking areas to strengthen efforts to disrupt the spread of drugs.

The funding will expand the heroin response strategy for high-intensity areas in Atlanta and the Carolinas, Michigan and Ohio. Of that funding, $5.6 million will go toward 13 projects to disrupt the trafficking of prescription opioids, fentanyl and heroin, as well as training providers on safe prescribing practices and on how to distribute naloxone, a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, the Office of National Drug Control Policy said in a release.

Another $6.5 million will go toward strengthening interaction between high intensity drug trafficking areas. Additional funding will create a Science to Action Coordinator position, who will work with the Heroin Response Strategy programs in the high-intensity areas.

Michael Botticelli, director of the ONDCP, called again on Congress to fund $1.1 billion to address the opioid epidemic. The program focusing on areas of high intensity drug trafficking has helped law enforcement agencies develop better approaches to respond to the epidemic, he said in a statement.

“Through the HIDTA program, law enforcement agencies have taken important steps to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic with public health and public safety approaches such as the HIDTA Heroin Response Strategy,” Botticelli said in a statement. “To fully address the crisis, however, Congress must act to provide funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it.”

The administration launched its heroin response strategy program about a year ago, to increase partnerships among regional High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs.

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